Both Miami Heat rookies in Justise Winslow (Rook 1) and Josh Richardson (Rook 2) are among the NBA’s 10 best rookies this season, according to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton.

In his NBA Awards Ballot column, the NBA numbers guru put Winslow on the All-Rookie first team, “by virtue of playing the second-most minutes of any rookie (behind Towns) for a playoff team, along with his terrific defense.”

Then he had Richardson on the All-Rookie second team.

Pelton’s All-Rookie first team

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Frank Kaminsky, Charlotte Hornets
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Justise Winslow, Miami Heat

Pelton’s All-Rookie second team

Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn Nets
Josh Richardson, Miami Heat
D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

It will be interesting to see if NBA Awards voters follow Pelton’s lead with Richardson. Winslow, who somehow fell to the Heat at No. 10, should be a shoe-in with his impact on a playoff team, becoming Miami’s best perimeter defender from Day 1.

Richardson has been lethal from the perimeter, shooting 48 percent from three on the season, but has appeared in only 50 games after several stints in the D-League and as a deep reserve. That might hurt him in the eyes of some voters.

Winslow and Richardson both rank in the Top 7 in rookie minutes since the All-Star break, but are the only two logging 30-plus minutes on a playoff team.


All-Rookie or not, the Heat landed themselves a couple of gems in last year’s draft. Both figure to have prominent roles in Miami’s playoff rotation.